Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Don't Break Your Momentum

The only thing harder than starting a workout routine is staying with it....seriously. It may seem like starting is the hardest part, but when we think about it, how many times do people start? Many. But how many times do they stick with it? None! Otherwise they would still be training, wouldn't they!

I started teaching classes this past January, and since that time I only have 2 students that have kept training with me.....and I'm sure no one else has kept it up on their own, even though almost everyone that had trained at least 4 consecutive weeks with me had seen results...noticeable results, not only in the shape and tone of their bodies, but most definitely in their conditioning! Some even own their own kettlebells, and still don't train them!

It's easy to quit, and the farther you get from regularity the harder it is to not quit completely. During these past 10 months every time I take a weekend off, and have to cancel a regular class, I always, always lose students! That's how close most people are to quitting! All one needs, it seems someitmes, is one missed!

I've written many times about how I don't like the word "struggle". I don't like to use the word because I feel as if using it makes it so. But just because I don't like using the word, and I certainly don't like feeling the word, doesn't mean I don't think it, or feel it! When I think it, I'm, for sure, feeling it! What am I really feeling though? Lazy, unmotivated, tired, hopeless, scared?

It doesn't matter to me that I find the answer to that question, what matters is that, in the mean time, I show up to swing, I show up to spin, I show up to walk, I show up for my yoga practice....that's what matters. How long I swing, spin, walk, or the number of yoga classes I go to doesn't matter until it gets to the point of breaking the habit, breaking the regularity of my workouts, breaking momentum.

Many times near the end of Max Vo2 training I want to keep snatching my last few sets in a row, instead of putting the bell down for a rest period....why? Many times I'll do long, long, long sets of fact the few times I have swung with the purpose of seeing how many swings I could do in an hours time, it was much easier to swing continuously as long as possible, taking bigger rest periods, instead of breaking it up into smaller sets with shorter rest periods....why? Because it's easier to keep going, working with momentum, than it is to break momentum, and start over. A few months ago when I tested my 10 minute snatch with Meg and Gen, we all got a "second wind" near the end and sprinted to the finish! No one rested during the 10 minutes, but still we were able to actually use momentum to speed up at the end.

These past few months my own training has seen a shift and for the first time in over 3 years I could actually see myself quitting my Bikram's Yoga practice.....scary! But, as bad as I had been feeling about my practice I kept going....not as often as I had been going, but my practice never fell lower than 4 times a week. That may not seem like much of a drop, but at the first of the year I was averaging 9 times a week! And, here's the big confession......I've thought many times recently, if I wasn't committed to teaching my swing classes I could very well start to lose my kettlebell practice! Thank God for my students that keep showing up and expecting me to show up as well!

Breaking momentum applies to more than working out. It applies to any good habit we've all established in our lives. And I believe everything we do on a regular basis are simply habits we establish. It takes 6 weeks to establish a new habit, but much shorter a time to break it. One missed workout may be all it takes........don't stop, because getting started again is so f***ing hard!

PS this seems to also apply to writing blogposts....LOL!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Max w/16kg #2 and 20kg snatches

I know, I know I never blogged Max w/16kg #1, but my Sat Max workouts have been a little unorganized for the past few weeks. In fact last week we only did about 15 minutes of max w/12kg (sets of up to 9), but then we all set some heavy snatch PR's with the 20kg!

We had the honor of training with Mark (Master Instructor, and my Master Coach!), so I thought it would be fun for us girls to train some heavy snatches up to the 20kg. Mark was snatching heavy that morning so I thought we would follow suite. Gen's boyfriend Chris came along and also got a chance to experience Max w/2okg and heavy snatches w/28kg.

I can't remember the exact sets we all did, but I know Gen snatched the 20kg at least 1-3 reps on each side, I think Meg did 3 x 3/3 on each side, and maybe 1 set of 5/5, and I think I did 2 x 3/3 and 2 x 5/5. The first time for Gen, I think Meg's snatched the 20kg once before and I haven't snatched the 20kg in forever, but the reps were PR's for all of us!

3 weeks ago meg and I used the 16kg for our Max workout and it went something like this for a total of 50 max sets....

10 sets of 5/5
10 sets of 6/6
10 sets of 7/7
20 sets of 8/8

10 sets of 5/5
10 sets of 6/6
30 sets of 7/7

This week I knew I wanted to snatch 8's for additional sets so we did the same workout but adding 5 more sets at the end for a total of 55 sets (25 sets of 8 for me).....but I changed it slightly in this way....

2 weeks ago we started with low rep sets, 5/5, 6/6, pacing those reps inside of the 15 seconds. In otherwords we took the entire 15 seconds to complete the low rep #, slowing down the pace of the snatches. This week, even though we still snatches low reps, we snatched them as fast as we could move the bell, leaving a few additional seconds rest until we got to 7's and 8's. This made it a completely different workout in my opinion!

I thought of this technique after training Max with Mark and noticed that as he alternates 7's and 8's in his Max training, regardless of rep count his speed is always te!

It's my goal to train Max for 50 sets of 8. The last time I trained Max w/16kg I worked up to 50 x 7/7. Week by week I'll add 5 sets, so that should put me there in 5 more weeks!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Lessons from Fawn's Kitchen

Romaine lettuce, baby greens, quinoa, cucumber, salty cheese, and pork! Those are the main ingredients I used for last night's salad, to which I added tomatoes (the last of Waynes homegrown) and dressed simply with lemon and oil. Gabe said it was the best salad I'd ever made....high praise from a 20 year old!

Fawn is the queen of Quinoa salads, and was the inspiration for the recipe I posted last year. She also set me straight about Romaine lettuce. I was bitching about getting it so often in my CSA box last year, writing about how I never buy or eat it in favor of other greens, and all she had to tell me was, "Oh Tracy, I love romaine!". Yikes! OK then, if Fawn likes it then there must be a good reason, so I looked up the nutritional info on it and romaine happens to have one of the highest nutrional values of any kind of lettuce you can eat!

I also bitched at her once for buying baby greens that are already washed and prepped, riding my high horse of prepping my own salad greens.....her reply? "Well Trace, I just don't have time to do it myself"....ouch!

Cucumber is a veg I rarely use.....I just don't think of other reason because I love cucumber! The first weekend I was in St Paul for the RKC, Fawn was dieting down for a powerlifting meet, so when I went to her house for lunch she had made a salad that included this super low calorie veg, along with another I rarely use, which is fennel.

Pork, pork, pork! What's not to love about pork? Pork shoulder cooked in a PC has become a staple in my home, as well as in the homes of all of my friends whom I've taught how to use a pressure cooker! It's an inexpensive, big peice of meat that can be sliced and eaten as a main course, or shredded for sandwiches and....salads! I came home from this last trip and the first thing I did was cook a pork shoulder butt!

Last but not least.....cheese! I got a lesson in cheese on my first visit, Minnesota has great local cheeses, but it was this last visit that Fawn reminded me of how yummy salty cheeses are, She had bought some mexican style cheese called Cotijo, sliced it with some Honeyrisp apple.....yum-my! Can you believe she had to remind me about a Mexican cheese?

Fawn may not think I pay attention to foods she "throws together", but I do! Fawn is a former Chef, for those who don't know this about her, and one whos taste and talent I highly respect. And for someone like me that had never left the state of California until my 20's, learning from Fawn, who grew up in Minnesota, is an opportunity to see someone that has been cooking "seasonally" her whole life!

Fawn is 100% responsible for my love of pressure cooking (I probably use it more than she does these days, lol), not to mention that I had never made a pot of chili until I met her, cooked with Delicata or Buttercup squash, prepared a bone-in pork roast, or had I ever grilled chard.....or even knew it could be done! I have yet to make my own mayonaise, or aoli (the "fancy name for flavored mayo sauces), I still don't use much fennel, a veg Fawn uses quite alot, and I didn't pay close enough attention to Fawn's use of canned salmon, which she used to make stuffed squash the first time I stayed with her.
Mark and I are off to yoga, I may add more to this blog post when I get back.......